Riebeek Rally Preview

Icy cold and (thankfully) wet conditions in the Western Cape sets the scene for round four of the Western Cape special stage Rally Championship and what a privilege it would be to arrive in the Swartland on Saturday 1 July 2017 with snow capped tips of the Witzenberg Mountains on the horizon and the knowledge that all of that beauty will be contributing towards raising the levels of our water reservoirs.

Given the amount of late nights most teams have been putting in preparing for the second half of the regional championship the action on the eight special stages holds great promise for the spectators, but expect it to be rather chilly whilst completing documentation (07h30) and scrutineering (07h45) at the Meiring Primary School before heading into the pre-start holding area. At 10h00 the first of the 23 entries will start the 270km event and having completed the 8 special stages totalling 108km the first car is expected at the rather strangely named, Die Bruid die Pixie en die Vaalhond, finish venue in Riebeek Kasteel at 16h20.

Though starting positions are determined by the drivers seeding list one would be inclined to immediately start the four 4x4 vehicles entered at the top of the starting sequence as they would almost certainly prove dominant should wet conditions prevail. The question is which one?

Father and son Peiser, John and Weston, have had a pretty miserable season to date and there is little doubt that they would like to see their 2015 championship winning Speed Pro Cycling Equipment 425 S5 WPMC Subaru Impreza GT 4x4 Turbo 2.0 back on form in what will undoubtedly prove to be a pretty level playing field as this area have not been used for rallying during the last decade.

Shaun Jones and Craig Gray won the 2016 WP rally Champiosnhip in their ex-Klaasen 424 S5 CPMCC Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.0 Turbo 4x4 and know only one way to rally – the Colin McRae way! When in doubt go flatout! Add Swakopmund ace, Oswaldo Mendes, to the trio in his Sky-way 129 S5 WBMK Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 2.0 4x4 and the scene is set for quite a showdown as the Namibians are not familiar with wet conditions and it would simply not make any difference to his attacking driving style. He cannot scare his navigator as he is already known as the Silver Fox and Derek Jacobs would dearly like to win this event in his quest for points.

The Walvis Bay Motor Club are hosting their club championship 1000 Dunes Rally Swakopmund on Saturday 15 July 2017 and understandably most of the Namibian based crews are preparing for the opening 2017 Namibian event. Thus there will be no Richard Slamet on this occasion. As a matter of fact quite a few navigators find themselves in different cars for this event.

Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais have enough time to prepare their ex-Hannes Grobler Howard Centre Motors 428 S5 CCMCC Nissan Sentra 4x4 2.0 for each event and though this may be seen as historic compared to the Turbo Scoobies they can never be written off should the roads prove wet and muddy. Possible the only valid excuse to not bring their recently acquired ex-Hannes Grobler S4 Nissan Skyline 3.1 to Riebeek Kasteel.

The fact that Mike Nathan, former multiple SA class champion, have actually entered could be seen as reason to expect lashing storms in the Swartland but with Clint Lingeveldt navigating the old age is restricted to the drivers side and the always impressive ex- Fernando Rueda S5 CCMCC Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 4x4 Turbo could well prove to be the surprise threat in the final result. Mike had his last outing in this same Evo during the 2013 All Tar Rally at Killarney.

Well rested after a long international holiday Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman are enjoying their best season to date in the Sabre Paints 406 S4 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0 20v but so are Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders in their classic Madev 423 S4 WBMK Datsun GX Sedan 2.0. The Teletubbies, alias Thorsten Pey and Mark Palmer, were the last rear wheel driven WP Champions in their S4 BMW 325 but to see a 1973 based classic car leading the points log a the midway point really is impressive as this car is a one of a kind, almost totally hand built, labour of love. They truly deserve to finally reap the fruits of many a late night as a team.

The lamp post executioner will be back! Rupert van Zyl and Marius Rudolph retired from the recent Ceres Toyota Rally in spectacular fashion when they uprooted a telephone pole in their Hollandse Motors 405 S4 WBMK VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 but though many considered that the swansong of the rapid Golf, it has proven extremely resilient and will be back in Riebeek. Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus also veterans of mowing down poles at Ceres, going in the opposite direction, will be hoping for better fortunes in their orange 421 S4 CCMCC VW Golf MkIII GTi 2.0 and has always been surprisingly quick on “wet” events.

Paul Emmanuel and Robin Benjamin return to the fray in their 450 S4 VW Polo 2.0 and the combination have obviously been spending their time preparing their car well. No matter what the road conditions are, John and Derick Clift, simply enjoy rallying their unique 418 S4 WBMK Toyota Hilux and though they might not be the quickest, they will almost certainly be present in Parc Fermé!

Call it what you like N2 / S1600 / S3 it has become the most competitive category in the WP Rally Championship and still they come! Ten S3 entries will be present in Riebeek Kasteel but there are many more in process and everyone seems to be raising the bar on each successive event.

Ismaeel Davids have had Simon Vacy-Lyle assisting in the preparation of the Motec ECU on the Extreme Building Contractors 431 S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 and veteran navigator, Yusuf Ganief, will be strapped into the suicide seat to tap the obvious potential of this factory built entry. Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay have given the 444 S3 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0 a new breath of life with a new engine and the 434 S3 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0 of Llewellyn Jones and Christoph Pichon demonstrated it’s potential on the recent Ceres Toyota Rally.

Team acciDent Guru have even instructed their professional holiday ace, Piet Bakkes, to return from yet another exotic location to take control of the 419 S3 WBMK VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v with Matthew Köhler as navigator. Armed with the rear suspension of a Toyota Conquest the team will be keen to put the new configuration to the test. With Divan de Goede temporarily unavailable as navigator Paul van Wyk will be flying in Henry Köhne on loan from the Richard Leek stable to keep the 469 S3 WBMK VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v ahead of Piet.

Keenan Sassman will have Kesevan Naidoo as navigator in the Howard Centre Motors 413 S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 and this another driver with a point to prove after three frustrating events. Llewellyn van Greunen will be attending the wedding of sister, Shelby, and former GTI Challenge champion Raymond Johnson on Saturday. Which also explains why the 415 S3 WBMK Toyota Run X 1.6 of Darren van Greunen will not be present in Riebeek. With Paul, Darren and Llewellyn rallyists one wonders who determined the wedding date?

Riyaan Amlay have proven to be the most consistent driver in S3 with his Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 and he has acquired the services of Ameen Snell for the Riebeek Kasteel Rally. Andy Haigh-Smith and Tania Vermaak have also seen a number of improvements made to the always immaculately prepared AHS Racing 432 S3 CPMCC Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 and with the appropriate nickname of the Yellow Submarine this car has simply been proven to be immune to water. Growing with each outing this combination is starting to bond nicely and they should once again prove surprisingly strong.

Julian Calvert and Terry Croy are the consistent team of the class with the 409 S3 CCMCCC VW Golf GTi 2.0 always present in Parc Fermé. Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak will be hoping for another Ceres Toyota result. They will however be made to work hard for a podium position in Riebeek Kasteel. Kränzle, Würth and TengTools are welcomed to the Supa Mac Team 467 S3 WBMK Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 stable.    

Tiaan Rabe took the S2 category by storm in Ceres, but Ian Long and Brian Hoskins will start Riebeek as favourites in their acciDent Guru 436 S2 WPMC VW Golf MkI 1.6. Johann and Petra Zulch will be attracting much attention with their debut in the S2 WBMK Ford Escort 1600 Sport. Johann needs no introduction as rally driver as his exploits in his previous Ford Escort 1600 Sport were legendary and the WBMK stallward is sure to keep the youngsters honest.

Sunrise expected to be 07h48 and sunset at 17h45 with Saturday ranging between 10ºC to 14ºC in cloudy conditions and a 2m/s South South Westerly turning to 3m/s Southerly in the afternoon. Some 7.6mm rain is expected on Wednesday, 15mm on Friday and 2.5mm very early on Saturday morning.

Share in the experience!